A Cyclist’s Challenge: Over a six-month span, cyclist Gerald “Gerry” Eddlemon, 62, of the Smoky Mountain Wheelmen, won his age class in the Sebring 24-Hour ultramarathon, the Tennessee Senior Olympics 20K Road Race, and broke or set an unprecedented 10 open-class state-crossing records (in three states) under the auspices of the Ultra Marathon Cycling Association (UMCA). His total of 16 state crossing records (open class) in a 13-month period is believed to be the highest in the history of UMCA. Seeking new adventures, he turned his sights on a quite different set of challenges: the 60-69 age class 100-Mile, 200-Mile, and 12-Hour Time Trial Records for Track under the rigorous rules of UMCA, but he faced a potentially serious road block. Here in his own words was the problem – and the solution:
In only a few weeks, how was I to bend my body and mind to the challenge of more than a 1000 laps around the 333.3-m concrete mixing bowl that is Indianapolis’ Major Taylor Velodrome? And on a TT bike no less? Compounding the problem was the extra 48 pounds I would carry in each of the more than 2000 steeply banked turns due to centripetal force. All my riding had been on the open-road in a usually much more relaxed geometry than the more aggressive aero position I felt I would need for at least the 100-Mile TT portion of the 100/200/12Hr trifecta. Plus I had just purchased a used Cervelo Dual TT bike for the 100-Mile portion of my special attempt for a records trifecta. The Sept. 29, 2007 date for the velodrome was set in stone. How could I get my 62-year-old and somewhat unusual frame to fit the bike’s aggressive frame and endure at least 100-miles with fewer than a half-dozen weeks to train on a TT bike, and only 18 months total as an ultra-marathoner?
One master bike-fitter, Mr. Eddy Sloan of Cycology Bicycles, to the rescue. I had heard enough glowing testimonials from cyclists who had had their bike fittings by Mr. Sloan to convince me that it just might help. Were they ever correct! Mr. Sloan fitted both my road bike and my TT bike to me with great patience and skill, backed up by excellent tools and equipment and his many years of experience. The difference was immediately noticeable, and far more noticeable (and beneficial) as the miles piled up. Even with the fittings and the benefit of Mr. Sloan’s excellent advice on training and the race itself, however, I had doubts I could ever ride any TT bike in an aero position for upwards of a hundred miles, especially with so little time on the bike.
Race day dawned sunny but cold (47 F), with the promise of 12+ mph winds as the day warmed to 90 F by afternoon. Unbelievably, I was able to ride that TT bike for 109 miles (and an UMCA record for the 100-Mile TT – 20 minutes faster than the existing 100-Mile record for the younger, 50-59 age class) before deciding to change to the road bike also fitted to me by Mr. Sloan. I continued on to set the 200-Mile and the 12-Hour TT track records, finishing at 7:55 PM.
Thanks for the outstanding bike fittings and training/race advice Eddy!
G.K. Eddlemon’s Sept. 29, 2007 Ultracycling Records Certified by UMCA (the international sanctioning authority for ultracycling):
- 100-Mile: 4 hours 57 minutes 40 seconds Average speed 20.156 mph
- 200-Mile: 10 hours 56 minutes 22 seconds Average speed 18.282 mph
- 12-Hour: 217.900 miles (217 miles 4754 feet) Average speed 18.158 mph
UMCA Officials: Mike Jacob, Jeff Ryan, Bruce Shawcroft, John Mead, Joe McNeeley